News from MSU Media Relations--Nov. 30

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Volleyball and Women's Basketball.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior middle blocker Ashley Newsome, the SEC's blocking leader in 2010, represented Mississippi State University on the 2010 All-SEC Volleyball team announced this week by the Southeastern Conference.

Newsome, who piled up a league-high and career-best 137 blocks and a league-leading 31 solo blocks, earned second-team All-SEC status. The Florence, Ala., product finished with a career-high 338 kills this fall, second-most on the team, and a team-best 19 service aces. She becomes the ninth Mississippi State player overall and the first to earn All-SEC status since Brianne Smedley was named to the 2000 All-SEC unit.

The MSU standout recorded four blocks in her career finale last week at Alabama, establishing a school record with 406 career blocks. Newsome also finished second with 83 career block solos and third with 323 block assists.

Florida's Kelly Murphy was tabbed by the league coaches as the SEC Player of the Year and Mary Wise, head coach of the SEC champion and top-ranked Gators, was named SDEC Coach of the Year.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State senior Kayla Woodard has been named to the 2010 ESPN Academic All-America Volleyball Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The Addison, Ala., native, a third-team selection, becomes the third Mississippi State volleyball player to receive academic All-America team honors.

The three six-player All-America volleyball teams were announced Tuesday.

Woodard, MSU's starting libero the past three seasons, concluded her final collegiate season last week with a career-best 507 digs, four shy of the MSU single-season record, the third-highest total in 36 seasons of MSU volleyball and the third-highest regular-season total in the SEC this season. She piled up 1,433 digs in 121 career matches, ranking third among State's all-time career digs leaders.

Earlier this season she became the first Mississippi State volleyball player to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

"I can't say enough about Kayla's accomplishments both in the classroom and on the court throughout her career at Mississippi State," said MSU head coach Jenny Hazelwood. "She is truly the kind of student-athlete that every coach hopes to have the opportunity to work with. Her hard work and dedication are attributes that will propel her to much success as she moves into life beyond college."

The former walk-on also starred in the classroom, where in three years she earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education, graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. A three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection and two-time recipient of the Newsom Award as MSU volleyball's top student-athlete, Woodard is completing graduate degree work at State.

She becomes the third Mississippi State volleyball player to receive academic all-America status. Outside hitter Aimee York was a first-team selection in 1992 and Jill Ferguson was a second-team pick in 1998. Woodard was a member of two of the four Mississippi State volleyball teams that have won AVCA Team Academic All-American Awards (2007 and 2009).

Woodard was among 50 volleyball players representing eight districts nationwide and two from the Southeastern Conference that earned first-team academic all-district distinction to advance to consideration for academic all-America honors. Tennessee's Nikki Fowler, a first-team selection, joined Woodard on the honor team.

Women's Basketball
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Coming off two consecutive wins, the Mississippi State women's basketball team continues its homestand as they face Louisiana Tech on Wednesday. Tip time from the Humphrey Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.

The Lady Bulldogs (3-1), are coming off back-to-back wins over South Alabama and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. In the last game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Senior Mary Kathryn Govero led the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points while Ashley Brown notched her first career double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. The Lady Bulldogs shot 51.7 percent from the field while holding UAPB to 18.8 percent shooting.

Govero currently leads the SEC in scoring, averaging 18.8 points a game. The Clinton, Miss.,-native had a career high earlier this season, scoring 28 in the season opener against USC Upstate. Govero is shooting 52 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range. Those ranks third and second in the SEC respectively. Govero also leads the SEC in threes made a game with 3.3.

Brown, who paces the team with 11.8 rebounds a game, ranks second in the SEC. The Chicago, Ill.-product notched her first career double-double against Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Mississippi State continues to excel on the defensive end of the floor through its first four games, allowing opponents to score just 47.2 points a game. That mark ranks first in the SEC. State also leads the SEC in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 29.1 percent from the floor. On the offensive end, State is averaging 64.8 points a game and is shooting 42 percent from the floor. The Lady Bulldogs are shooting 34 percent from 3-point range. Mississippi State is second among SEC teams in steals with 47 and rank fourth in blocks, averaging 4.8 a game.

Louisiana Tech enters Wednesday's game with a 2-3 record, having dropped its last three games. Led by head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, the Lady Techsters are led by senior forward Adrienne Johnson. Johnson is averaging 23.8 points a game and is shooting 52 percent from the field. Johnson also paces LTU in rebounds, averaging 8.6 a game. Senior guard Whitney Jones is averaging 9.8 points a game while senior Tarkeisha Wysinger-Mackey is averaging 8.0 a contest.

Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech have met 10 previous times dating back to 1979. Mississippi State has won the last three meetings with the Lady Techsters which included two meetings in Ruston, La. Last season, State overcame a 10-point second half deficit to take a 72-68 victory over LTU in Ruston. Alexis Rack scored 32 points in the winning effort.

Following Wednesday's game, State returns home on Sat., Dec. 4 to host North Texas at 1 p.m.

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